Meet Fig Loans. Fig changes the way people with bad credit experience banking. They offer emergency loans and financial stability products to get you through unpredictable financial challenges. Fig stands behind a commitment to offer financial products to customers in a socially responsible way.
Figs fees are designed only to cover the costs of serving the Fig Loan — that’s it. Their loans provide customers with the most affordable product when they need it most. Fig does not look at a traditional credit score when making loan decisions. Instead the company looks at your ability to repay the loan based on account age, income, and existing or previous loans. Fig currently offer loans between $300-$500 and the loans cost less than $4 for every $100 borrowed per 2 weeks. The loans are paid off over four months, through 4 equal monthly payments. Unlike payday loans, Fig Loans work with you to adjust payment dates because they understand that life doesn’t always follow a calendar.
Transparency is what sets Fig apart from payday lenders. They don’t charge any surprise fees and even give customers a discount if they choose to pay their installment loan back early!
Below is a Q&A with Fig Loans Co-founder, Jeff Zhou
What inspired you and your co-founder to start Fig Loans?
John and I are able to start Fig because along the way people took a chance on us. Whether it’s an education, job or an investment – they could have picked anyone else, but they gave us that opportunity. As a result, these institutions are more than just schools, employers or investors to us.
The catch-22 of credit traps people out of the traditional credit markets. You need to get credit to build credit, but if you have bad credit nobody will give you credit. Fig takes a leap of faith every time we lend. We give our borrowers an opportunity to show they’re more than their credit score. And after we’ve helped them succeed, I hope they’ll think of us as more than a lender.
Can you explain what Pay Day loans are and how they can be predatory?
Payday loans are marketed as paycheck advances for emergency needs. The borrowers are typically unable to access lower cost traditional credit products like credit cards. Payday loans are predatory because they’re designed to trap customers in debt. Predatory loans come with incredibly high interest rates and, more importantly, fine print that structurally prevents borrowers from paying the loans off. For example, payday lenders often charge a fee for paying off your loan early, they might only accept payments in person, they might not accept partial payments, and all this in addition to costly late and change fees. To shed light on the most common predatory features of a payday loan, we’ve created our own 5 step loan guide to help borrowers identify dishonest lending practices and predatory fine print.
How do Fig Loans differ from Pay Day Loans?
Originally designed with the financial coaches of United Way THRIVE, Fig is the loan you would make to a friend. Fig Loans are 60% cheaper than payday loans, have no extra fees, report credit, and even come with an early repayment discount. Our mission is financial health, and so our product is intentionally designed to incentivize borrowers to make good financial choices, like paying off the loan early. As another example, Fig provides flexible repayment plans at no additional cost or interest. Lastly, we’re always honest with our customers and want to help them find the best solutions, even if it isn’t a Fig Loan.
Can anybody apply for a Fig Loan or do you have to live in a certain state?
You currently have to live in Texas or Missouri to get a Fig Loan. However, we’re expanding quickly and will be available in Illinois, California and Ohio by the end of the summer!
How can other communities get Fig Loans enabled in their states?
Can you talk a little bit more about your social mission and how Fig plans to empower communities?
Fig’s mission is provide responsible financial products to borrowers by aligning our business model with their financial health. Communities are vital to creating and supporting lasting financial health for our borrowers. To that end, Fig aims to be the ultimate tool for our partners, creating products that complement and enhance their capabilities. An example of this is our newest product called Fig36! Fig36 is a turnkey lending-as-a-service solution that we provide at no cost to our non-profit partners. Fig36 is all of Fig’s lending, underwriting, legal, customer service and credit reporting technology in a single platform that enables our partners to build their own emergency loan programs. Fig takes care of the lending nuts and bolts, allowing our partners to focus on their clients.
What inspires you about your work?
What is the ultimate dream vision for Fig Loans and what it can become?
Our products are the gold standard for financial services and provided in communities all over the world. In every community we are active participants, contributing not only as a corporation but also as citizens. I want every local partner to meet Fig team members face to face, spend time with us, and confidently say Fig is a constant force for good in their community.